NBA Finals: Cavaliers @ Warriors Game 1 Trends and Picks
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
The following betting trends favor the Cleveland Cavaliers +12.5:
Home teams favored by double-digits 18-24 ATS last five completed playoffs,
Favorites of 10 or more 5-6 ATS in the 2018 playoffs (so far),
Warriors 12-19-1 ATS laying at least 10 this year (regular season + playoffs),
Golden State 7-12 ATS as double-digit playoff favorites since Steve Kerr assumed Head Coach role,
LeBron James teams getting 3+ points in playoff games 25-18 ATS,
LBJ 3-1 ATS as a playoff underdog of ≥ 10,
Similarly, recent history also favors UNDER 217.5
Warriors / Cavaliers combined O/U 90-106-3 this year,
Golden State O/U 21-26 as home favs; Cleveland 10-11 as road dogs in 2017-18,
This season GSW O/U 8-14-1 on 2-3 days rest; CLE O/U 0-2 on 4+ days off,
Teams' combined O/U 24-36-1 this year facing opposing conference
We also note that the Warriors tend to outscore their opponents by a particularly wide margin in the third quarter versus the Cavaliers' relative performance just after the halftime break (actually, this phenomenon is not unique to Warriors vs. Cleveland; the Warriors are the best 3Q team in the League, outpacing competition by more than three full points more than the Denver Nuggets, the second-best 3Q team last year).
Bottom Line: We give this Cavaliers team only a nominal shot at winning the series. And we certainty do not expect they will steal a game in Oakland. However, in our estimation, the current double-digit line might represent the best chance of the series for Cleveland to beat the number. Given the Warriors historical struggles versus bloated chalk, and LeBron James' (repeatedly) proven greatness, we can see the Cavs hanging within a dozen points or so. That's about as much optimism as we can muster for Cleveland.
Separately, in a nod to the Warriors' tendency to explode offensively in the third, we also took Golden State 3Q -3.5 -115 earlier this week. We would be OK laying as much as -4.5 (the current 5Dimes line) on home team in the third, as that level still offers an average cushion of 0.5 to 1.0 points.
Finally, we also like UNDER 217.5. In addition to the aforementioned team-specific trends that point to a lower than expected aggregate score, we note that 49% of total bets and 55% of dollars wagered on the total back the OVER. This playoffs, a higher percentage of dollars than bets is 32-41 forecasting the total.